Drug Levels and Effects:

Summary of Use during Lactation:

There is no published experience with halothane anesthesia during breastfeeding. In a study from 1976, traces of halothane were found for 72 hours in expired air, and presumably in milk, of operating room personnel.[1] Various recommendations have been made regarding breastfeeding after halothane anesthesia, from discarding the first pumping after recovery to discarding breastmilk for 24 to 48 hours after thesurgicalprocedure.[1][2] Although withholding breastfeeding for 24 hours is probably unnecessary, an alternate anesthetic may be preferred, especially while nursing a newborn or preterm infant.

Drug Levels:

Maternal Levels.

Foremilk samples taken on two occasions from a practicing anesthesiologist after administering halothane anesthesia in the operating room contained from 630 mcg/L to 2.1 mg/L (0.63-2.1 ppm) of halothane.[1] These values were higher than air samples from the operating room, but may be underestimates because of sampling techniques. The amount of halothane in the milk of women undergoing halothane anesthesia has not been studied.

Infant Levels.

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Effects in Breastfed Infants:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Possible Effects on Lactation:

Relevant published information was not found as of the revision date.

Alternate Drugs to Consider:



1. Cote CJ, Kenepp NB, Reed SB, Strobel GE. Trace concentrations of halothane in human breast milk. Br J Anaesth. 1976;48:541-3. PMID:986147
2. Hale TW. Anesthetic medications in breastfeeding mothers. J Hum Lact. 1999 ;15:185-94. PMID:10578796

Substance Identification:

Substance Name:


CAS Registry Number:


Drug Class:

  • Anesthetics, Inhalation

  • Administrative Information:

    LactMed Record Number:


    Last Revision Date:

    Disclaimer:Information presented in this database is not meant as a substitute for professional judgment. You should consult your healthcare provider for breastfeeding advice related to your particular situation. The U.S. government does not warrant or assume any liability or responsibility for the accuracy or completeness of the information on this Site.